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What is the status of your hotels right now?
All our hotels in Prague are closed. On March 12th the Czech government announced a state of emergency and our borders closed. Tourism as we know it naturally disappeared within two days as well as every single guest from our hotels.
How are you staying in touch with your employees?
The situation around employment has been very unstable. During the past few weeks, my main role as a mediator, together with our HR team, was to gather information from our owner, government, Hotel Association and Chamber of Commerce. We have communicated our perspective for the future to all employees via our department heads of each hotel individually and of course via email to all our employees several times per week. We have several employees where both husband and wife work in tourism and they both lost their jobs from day one. We have spoken to them personally to reassure to them that our company will support their family to the maximum. We want to give them some hope for their future.
How do you motivate your sales team right now?
To be honest, in the past three weeks there was little room for extra motivation. When all our events and meetings got cancelled, you need to stay focused and minimise the damage. Our sales team are doing a very good job from their home offices as are the rest of the team taking care of the operational part. So far, I feel solidarity, understanding, and passion for every job well done during this crisis management and this keeps me and the team motivated. We hope for a healthy future.
How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?
Essential for our business is the reopening of the borders and allowing the usual worldwide migration. In several weeks, as forecasted by the Czech government, we hope the number of restrictions will be reduced. We hope that we can reopen the restaurant and conference facilities for the local market to start with.
What are the unique selling points of your hotels?
Considering all our hotels it’s location, location, location … we have a wide variety of conference facilities and the perfect event support team in each hotel. As LHG we offer the overall highest room capacity in the city centre with our flag ships Hotels, the Grandior and Grandium hotel offering almost 400 rooms each which makes them the largest city centre hotels ready to host large events.
What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?
It’s on us, the tourism professionals and tourism influencers, to bring tourism back to life when the time comes. Many people and many jobs in our amazing profession will be saved if we support each other. I have made that promise to myself and the Le Hotels Group will support it.